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Dam! Water, Power, Politics, and Preservation in Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite National Park

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ISBN-10: 0375422315

ISBN-13: 9780375422317

Edition: 2005

Authors: John W. Simpson, John W. Simpson

List price: $28.50
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A vivid account of America’s first environmental cause célèbre, which illuminates our attitudes toward fundamental questions of growth, development, and our place in nature. The building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the middle of Yosemite National Park–despite the availability of less expensive, less technically challenging, and less politically complicated possibilities–set off a defining controversy in American environmentalism. From the early 1900s to 1913 Americans argued about proposals to dam the Tuolumne River and transform the extraordinary Hetch Hetchy Valley into a giant source of water and hydroelectric power for the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a story of intrigue replete with political scandals and suspect tactics played out in the corridors of Congress, in San Francisco’s City Hall and its corporate boardrooms, and in the national media. The colorful cast of characters includes Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and John Muir, as well as a host of political bosses, West Coast boosters, East Coast patricians and publishers, big-business interests, newly formed environmental groups, and the American public. Simpson also takes us through the building of the enormous dam and the extensive tunnels and aqueducts that carry water to the Bay Area, and the even more controversial hydroelectric project that still fails to deliver the “public” power that Congress mandated and about which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. He recounts conversations with an array of people currently involved in the ongoing controversy over whether to manage, refurbish, repair, and enlarge the system, or to tear down the dam and restore the valley to its prior splendor. Simpson concludes with a reflection on what all of this reveals about American attitudes toward growth, development, and environmental stewardship.
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Book details

List price: $28.50
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 7/12/2005
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

John Warfield Simpson is a professor of Landscape Architecture and Natural Resources at Ohio State University, he lives in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

Map: Regional Waterscape
The Origins of Yosemite National Park
Map: Yosemite National Park
The Struggle for the Valley
Olmsted, Muir, and the State Reserve
Pinchot, the Park, and the Conservation Movement
Theodore Roosevelt; The Park's Revision
The Hetch Hetchy Controversy, Past and Present
Map: Schematic Diagram of the Spfuc-Hhwp System
Spring Valley and the Boomtown Politics of Water
James Duval Phelan and the Imperial Dream
The Private Debate over Hetch Hetchy
A National Cause Celebre
The Political Outcome
Competing Claims for Water
Mismanaging the Dream
Constructing the Engineering Marvel
The Raker Act's Ignored Mandate
PG&E and the Politics of Public Power
Restoring the Promise
Dld Issues; A New Dream
Source Notes